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A very belated welcome

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Carrie Carrie | 16:28 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2012

First of all, apologies to Omar and everyone for not being around for the last week. I've been away for a few days in Cornwall

Cornwall

but now I'm back and raring to go!

Omar: even though I've been on holiday I've been reading and enjoying your blogs very much. They've generated a lot of discussion, which is fantastic! I thought your suggestions for ways to improve your English were great - although you're a brave man to tackle calling a call centre! Your English is actually very good and as many of our online friends have said, you tell a great story. Your blog about South Sudan made me cry. It was a bit embarrassing as I was sitting in the office at the time!

Before I pick holes (only joking) in your blogs, I thought I'd tell you about my own experience of the Olympics. This week I feel my Olympic journey has come a full circle. Let me explain. In 2005 London was one of the cities shortlisted to host the 2012 Olympics. On 6 July I was sitting in the BBC office in the centre of London, just before lunch, when it was announced that the choice was between Paris and London. I quickly left the office and rushed down to Trafalgar Square to await the result of the vote. Thousands of us were squashed into the Square. At the front there was a huge stage, a giant screen and loudspeakers. On the screen we could see Jacques Rogge. He said "The International Olympic Committee has the honour of announcing that the games of the thirtieth Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of......." And then there was a long pause. All of a sudden the people right at the front of the crowd starting cheering - then he said ".....London!" and the whole of Trafalgar Square erupted. You can see the BBC news report here

Minutes after the announcement was made there was a roaring overhead and the Red Arrows flew over the Square, trailing red, white and blue smoke.

This Sunday marked the end of the Olympics and Paralympics. On Monday there was a huge parade through the streets of London. The GB athletes were carried through the streets on 21 giant trailers pulled by lorries. I, along with thousands and thousands of other people (some newspapers say there were 1 million people), waited for hours to see the athletes pass by.

Olympic parade

As the parade reached Buckingham Palace, I found myself once again standing in Trafalgar Square. And once again, there was a roaring overhead....and there were the Red Arrows again, trailing red, white and blue smoke. So you see: a full circle!

Red Arrows

Now then, back to your blogs. I'm not going to say anything about your first blog, as I think it was such a great way to get people talking. Actually, I am going to say something: well done to everyone who commented and joined in the discussion: this is another way to improve your English. Don't be afraid to have a go at writing something: whether it's a single line or a whole essay.

Let's start with a few vocabulary bits from your other two blogs. Nothing major!


  • Play and games "And what kind of plays do they play?" To play as a verb is used in sport (to play football); but as a noun (a play or plays) it's theatre! For sport, the noun is a game. So, "And what kind of games do they play?"



  • Make a party: "They make a very big party" - here you need to use 'throw a party' or simply 'have a party'.



  • Skinned: "They were so skinned, lightweight..." I think you mean skinny (very thin)? Do you know that if you go in to a coffee shop and ask for a "Skinny latte" you will get an espresso coffee with nonfat milk?


The other thing I want to look at briefly is the Simple past tense vs present perfect. You said
"During the war, more than 2.5 milion people have been killed, and 5 milions people have become displaced in other countries, becoming refugees."
The war is over - it's finished, so you need to us the simple past:
During the war more than 2.5 million people were killed (not have been killed)
and
5 million (note singular when you have a figure) became (not have become) displaced

Now then, here's some homework:
You wrote:
"I recollect it from the ground". Recollect is a formal way of saying 'remember' e.g. "Do you recollect when we used to go to the seaside for our holidays?" I think you were thinking of the word 'collect', but what you should have said was "I picked it up from the ground". Pick + up = verb + preposition. However, sometimes the second word (in this case 'up') gives a special meaning to the verb. This is called a 'phrasal verb'. So, "I picked up my cup of coffee" = verb + preposition. "I went home after work to pick up my car" - meaning I went home to collect my car, not literally pick it up - is a phrasal verb. Take a look at the eight sentences and decide whether they contain a verb + preposition or a phrasal verb:

1. Have you had your interview? How did you get on?
2. He failed his exams, so he dropped out of college.
3. She dropped her keys and had to pick them up from the floor.
4. I was very angry, so I shouted at him.
5. She fell asleep in the car and crashed into a tree.
6. I go to the gym every day to work out.
7. They saw their friends in the street and ran out to say hello.
8. We couldn't have a cup of tea this morning because we had run out of milk.

Raring to...: to be eager to do something
To pick holes in something: to find weak points in something
Erupt: in this case, to suddenly start shouting and cheering
The Red Arrows: the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Carrie,

    Your article about the London olympics made me see the event through professional eyes. You gave us a vivid image of the event and particularly of its circumstances. I got more information about how London obtained the honour of organising the olympics despite the tight and fierce competition it faced among other great and stately capitals and particularly Paris. I watched the opening and the closing ceremonies and a lot of sports competitions on television.

    The organization of the event was impeccable. Congratulations to you and to all British people for this brilliant success. When I say British, I mean English, Scottish, welsh, Irish,..; all people living in the United Kingdom. Actually, the leaders who struggled very hard and won the bid and also those who contributed to the success of this international event should be greatly rewarded. They deserve to be treated with great respect due to Heroes.

    Now, let’s get down to the difficult homework. I tried my best to do a good work, but it is so difficult that I am not sure of my answers.

    1.Have you had your interview? How did you get on? (prepositional verb)
    2. He failed his exams, so he dropped out of college. (phrasal prepositional verb)
    3. She dropped her keys and had to pick them up from the floor. (phrasal verb)
    4. I was very angry, so I shouted at him. (prepositional verb)
    5. She fell asleep in the car and crashed into a tree. (single verb)
    6. I go to the gym every day to work out. (prepositional verb)
    7. They saw their friends in the street and ran out to say hello. (single verb)
    8. We couldn't have a cup of tea this morning because we had run out of milk.(phrasal prepositional verb)

    I would be grateful if you give us the rules on how to make a distinction between single and compound verbs, between phrasal and prepositional verbs and also between phrasal prepositional verbs and idiomatic verbs.

    Kind regards,

    Elmansour, from Morocco

  • Comment number 2.

    Dear Carrie,
    This is my first contact here, then nice to write to you!
    I think that the parade celebrating the end of Olympic Games - you really described so vividly - has been up to worldwide expectations, but it couldn't be different.
    Over the whole time of the Games , London had always been proven ready for organizing and managing such a big event. I fully share congratulations to your country which Elmansour has expressed in his previous post.
    I am truly grateful to you for the grammar and vocabulary tips you suggested,commenting Omar blog .
    As for the homework , I ' ll have my own try. The answers are the following ones:
    1) Get on = verb + pre
    2) Pick up = verb + prep
    3) Drop out = phrasal verb
    4) Shout at = verb + prep
    5) Crash into = verb+ prep
    6) Work out = phrasal verb
    7) Run out to = phrasal verb

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Look forward to next your post.
    Andi4

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Carrie, and thank you for checking (orI should say marking?) my blogs, And thank you for helping me with the past, I've tried to learn those rules over the last 20 years, but i still often forget them, not to mention conditional, that is very useful during a conversation, i often make mistakes using it.
    Reading your story, i also found out the right expression i was looking for whie writing the blog about the marathon, that is "to see the athletes pass by".

    Here is my homework:
    1. Have you had your interview? How did you get on? (phrasal verb)
    2. He failed his exams, so he dropped out of college. (phrasal verb)
    3. She dropped her keys and had to pick them up from the floor. (Verb + Prep)
    4. I was very angry, so I shouted at him. (verb + prep)
    5. She fell asleep in the car and crashed into a tree. (verb + prep)
    6. I go to the gym every day to work out. (Phrasal verb)
    7. They saw their friends in the street and ran out to say hello. (Verb + prep)
    8. We couldn't have a cup of tea this morning because we had run out of milk. (Phrasal verb)
    Thank you!
    Omar

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi there Carrie,
    I hope you had a wonderful holiday! All of us were eagerly waiting for your post :) And thank you for the Olympic recap.

    And the homework:
    1. Have you had your interview? How did you get on? (phrasal verb)
    2. He failed his exams, so he dropped out of college. (phrasal verb)
    3. She dropped her keys and had to pick them up from the floor. (verb+preposition)
    4. I was very angry, so I shouted at him. (verb+preposition)
    5. She fell asleep in the car and crashed into a tree. (verb+preposition)
    6. I go to the gym every day to work out. (phrasal verb)
    7. They saw their friends in the street and ran out to say hello. (verb+preposition)
    8. We couldn't have a cup of tea this morning because we had run out of milk. (phrasal verb)

    Looking forward to your next post,
    Sumayya

  • Comment number 5.

    it is great ...

  • Comment number 6.

    any one can help .. I have a new topic but i do not know how make it as main topic .. plllz help,,

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello... Long time no see. I am Wisarut. I am from Thailand in which one of the hottest countries in the world is rather far from you. I used to make a lot of comments here once I lived in the Northest of Thailand around 4 years ago. I have come and visited this web site from time to time and I have very wonderful experiences with this blog that draws my attention in terms of tourist attractions in the UK and other places. Moreover I enjoy reading your blog and all of them have such informative details that I do not take it for granted. Thank you.:)

 

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